If you’re anything like me, then sometimes you’re guilty of not liking people or not getting along with people because of something they did to you or the way they came across to you when you met them. The problem is, we’re letting one moment define an entire relationship with another human that our God created. One moment.
If you met me at certain parts of my life, chances are you wouldn’t like me. There are people who don’t, and I honestly don’t blame them. There are a lot of days and weeks and months in my past that have been cleansed by the saving and powerful blood of Christ, but that doesn’t mean those moments didn’t happen. It doesn’t mean I didn’t meet people or interact with people in those moments.
And so, there are people who met high school Emily who met a girl searching for who she was in a sea of self-doubt and bad examples; a girl who often made the wrong decisions and was quick-witted and mean-spirited. There are people who met freshman in college Emily who met a girl plagued with bitterness and angst, who was an oft-complaining, short-tempered fire cracker of emotions. Junior Emily was full of bad decisions that hurt a lot of people, and guess what? She met and interacted with a lot of people during that time…people who probably shouldn’t like her.
I’m not that person anymore. The person that filled those moments, well, she’s gone. I buried that person in a watery grave, and I’ve prayed many times over the same sinful memories that haunt my mind. So if people met me or interacted with me today, my prayer is that they wouldn’t meet the same person. But what if they never gave new me a chance?
If we never give people second chances – if we hold onto first impressions or a grudge for something they did wrong in the past – we are likely missing out on something special; on someone special.
What if we’d met Moses when he killed the Egyptian, and held that memory at the forefront of our minds each time we saw him? We would have missed getting to know a great friend of God. What if we had met Abraham as he doubted God’s promise and took things into his own hands with Hagar? We would have missed seeing a great promise unfold. What if we had met David during his murderous, adulterous rampage with Bathsheba? We would have missed getting to know a man after God’s own heart.
Grudges aren’t good for anyone, but especially for the one carrying it. You don’t know what you’re missing out – what special part of God’s story you will miss – when you don’t re-meet some of the people you’ve already counted out of your life.
I am thankful that in Christ I have a second chance (and third and fourth and millionth). May we all be people who give unnumbered chances to all of the people we encounter; especially the ones who leave that bad taste in our mouths for whatever reason. We’ve probably met them at a moment they won’t be proud of down the line. Give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, that’s what love does (1 Cor. 13: 5, 7).